Picture a time when you were listening to someone rant about their hectic and stressful day… did your mind wander? Did the person you were talking to ask you about the blank stare on your face? It’s that same blank stare that you may recognize from a time when you’re sharing something important and the person listening isn’t *really* listening.
At the last Mission: Mindfulness, we focused specifically on the qualities of listening and perspective-taking. These are qualities that make up Emotional Intelligence, or EQ. The term Emotional Intelligence was coined by Peter Salovey and John Mayer is defined as “the ability to recognize, understand and manage our own emotions [and those of others].” Put more simply, emotional intelligence is being aware of and experiencing one’s own emotions and leveraging this knowledge to better understand our interactions with others. Emotional intelligence was popularized by Daniel Goleman, who breaks the concept into 5 core competencies. We focused on one called social awareness, which Goleman defines as “how people handle relationships and awareness of others’ feelings, needs, and concerns.”
It sounds so simple but it isn’t always easy to put into practice. Research shows that 50% of the time our mind is wandering, meaning that we aren’t really listening to what is happening right in this moment. Mindfulness can help us all increase our awareness of the times that the mind is wandering and help return us to the present moment – for enhanced listening, decision-making, perspective-taking, and fostering deeper relationships with others.
Emotional Intelligence is becoming increasingly important in the workplace. In fact, World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report predicts that “…social skills — such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and teaching others — will be in higher damand across industries than narrow technical skills.” At Google, the 7 most important skills of their top employees are “soft skills” such as communicating, listening, empathy, and creative problem solving.
Conceptually we can appreciate the value of these skills. However, the opportunity to hone them doesn’t always present itself. We offer Mission: Mindfulness on a monthly basis in order to carve out time to come together as a community, building or deepening a mindfulness practice and making meaningful connections with other like-minded individuals. We hope you’ll join us for the next Mission: Mindfulness session tomorrow Wednesday, May 9, the focus of which will be empathy. Register here, and enter promo code “LISTEN” to receive $5 off your registration fee. See you there!